Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

August, 2005


    My Best Pencil Ever

    For some reason I don't recall now, I studied technical drawing and drafting in high shool. One of my fondest memories of that experience was ordering my own STAEDTLER pencil. I used this pencil for everything and there were a group of us geeks that always had them out for all of our classes. I even used one of these in my first year of college when I studied art, but I lost track of it when I transferred to UW Madison my sophomore year.

    STAEDTLER Mars technico 780 C
    I've thought about getting another one of these on and off for years, and two recent stories that I read made me think about this again. First, there have been reports of people paying top dollar for Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 pencils, which I understand were discontinued in 2002. (That must be some pencil!) Second, I read a funny post by Danny Gregory, where he explains the tools he uses to create his amazing artwork. (Read it all the way to the end.)

    I finally picked one up this weekend at Office Depot for $8.00, which included a box of leads and an eraser. (Not too bad for what I consider this is the finest pencil I've ever used.) I'm really having a good time with it. The only thing that drives me nuts is that I need to carry a separate eraser as there isn't one on the pencil itself. Note that I went to high school in the early 80's, so this probably isn't the exact model I used, but it's very close. I seem to remember the metal holder near the tip being a little more coarse and sharp (as in, cutting into my fingers sharp) and I don't recall a lead sharpener in the push-button.

    Visio Connector Updated for MBSA 2.0

    I've blogged before about the Visio Connector for MBSA. Well, I ran into Sanjay Puri a while back and he let me know that this tool has been updated for MBSA 2.0. Here's a link to the download and the details:
    Visio Connector for Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)
    The Visio Connector for MBSA (Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer) is a Visio COM add-in that allows IT administrators to view the results of an MBSA network scan on a Visio network diagram.
    This article on TechNet has a picture to take a look at and more details about the tool. As I mentioned before, this tool is a great way to visualize potential security deficiencies your network.

    Overlake Hospital CIO on Channel 9

    This is pretty cool. Robert Scoble interviewed Kent Hargrave, the CIO at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA. Overlake happens to be the hospital where my wife works, so it's interesting to see that she uses the same technology that I do at work.
    Bill Crounse - Talking hospital tech with CIO of Overlake Hospital
    Bill Crounse, a medical doctor who works at Microsoft, as the global healthcare industry manager, invited us over to see Kent Hargrave, CIO at Overlake Hospital Medical Center. I had an opportunity recently to spend a week in the hospital while my wife had surgery. I noticed that the hospital had wifi almost everywhere (which I greatly appreciated, by the way). But, in this interview we learned a lot more about the role of technology in hospitals.

    Information on Win32/Zotob.A

    Stepto posted information today around the Win32/Zotob.A worm. Here's a link to his post:
    Guidance pages and information on Worm:Win32/Zotob.A
    Ok, earlier this morning we activated our Software Security Incident Reponse Process to respond to a malicious attack known as Worm:Win32/Zotob.A. Our investigation has determined that only a small number of customers have been affected and we're working directly with them. We have seen no indication of widespread impact to the Internet, but we have posted a guidance page as well as an encyclopedia entry on this attack. We will remain watchful for any variants or any further customer impact.
    Here's a direct link to Microsoft's incident page for the worm:
    What You Should Know About Zotob
    Zotob.A is a worm targeting Windows 2000-based systems which takes advantage of a security issue that was addressed by Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-039. This worm installs malicious software, and then looks for other computers to infect.
    As always, the bottom line with this type of thing is to make sure that you're fully patched, you're using a firewall, and that your antivirus signatures are up-to-date. Also be sure to subscribe to the MSRC blog for the latest information; it's a great resource.

    C++ at the PDC

    Visual C++ PM Kang Su Gatlin let me know that he's posted a listing of the offerings availble for C++ developers at this year's PDC. Looks like there's lots of good stuff to see and do. Get the details here.

    I'll be at the MSDN booth Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so be sure to stop by and say hi if you get a chance.

    Visual Studio 2005 SDK August CTP

    Allen Denver posted a note in his blog to let us know the VSSDK 2005 August CTP is now available. Here's a link:
    Visual Studio Partner Programs Downloads
    The August SDK adds 2 C# samples ( Package, MenusAndCommands ) that have been rewritten to our new quality level. It will work only with Visual Studio Beta2. This is unsupported and its not recommended to install this version of the SDK onto your main production machine - use with caution. We welcome your feedback through the extensibility newsgroups.

    SharePoint Applications

    Mary Jo Foley links to some new SharePoint application templates available for download from Microsoft. Check out the full list on the download page for more information, but there's a ton of useful stuff here:
    Applications for Windows SharePoint Services
    These application templates are tailored to address the needs and requirements for specific business processes or sets of tasks for organizations of any size. The applications are the first out-of-box custom scenarios for the Windows SharePoint Services platform, though they also provide a starting point for partners and developers looking to build deeper Windows SharePoint Services solutions.
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